Protection Gaps for Sexual Rights


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On September 22nd, during the 30th session of the Human Rights Council, AWID and Sexual Rights Initiative co-hosted a side event to discuss protection gaps around sexual rights. The five panelists discussed the nature and causes of existing protection gaps in sexual rights, and gave recommendations to further protections for all individuals in the field of sexuality.

Naureen Shameem of AWID made the case for applying an intersectional lens to sexual rights, and for recognizing the cross-over between religious fundamentalisms and violations of sexual rights.

  • Without an intersectional approach sexual rights as addressed at the UN will inevitably focus on the privileged and visible, and ignore the more marginalized.
  • In fundamentalist contexts, women’s bodies—always seen as carriers of culture and honor—become the site of religious and political control
  • Violations of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and sexual freedoms have been named by WHRDs as some of the top impacts of fundamentalisms
  • Lack of space to discuss sexuality, unsafe abortion, denial of HIV treatment, and a range of acts of “culturally-justified violence against women” are just some of the deleterious effects of fundamentalisms on sexual rights.
  • Changes in data collection practices to reflect a holistic approach, collaboration between Treaty Bodies and joint reports by Special Procedures are some of the ways the UN could tackle existing protection gaps.
  • The Human Rights Council should recognize the intersections of sexual rights with its regular items of work (such as discrimination against women, violence against women, disability and economic rights)

Download Naureen’s presentation here.

Read more about the event here

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